FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review of possible misconduct in the investigation of former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn, the office said on Friday.
The after action review will examine whether any current employees were at fault during the investigation and assess whether improvements should be made to FBI policies and procedures.
By announcing the revision, the FBI, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s anger, intervenes in a case that has become a rallying cry for Trump supporters – and does it right as the Justice Department rejects critics according to which his recent decision to reject the proscription was a politically motivated effort to make Trump’s offers.
The announcement adds to the internal review of one of the lawsuits signed by special advocate Robert Mueller during his investigation into the ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. It highlights how a case that has Apparently resolved by Flynn’s 2017 guilty plea has instead given way to prolonged and politically charged debate over FBI and DOJ tactics during this and the Russian investigation more broadly.
The unusual review will be led by the Office’s Inspection Division, which conducts internal investigations into potential employee misconduct. Trump recently strongly criticized the FBI and suggested earlier this month that Wray’s fate as director may be in limbo. An FBI official said Friday that the review has been under consideration for some time and that the FBI has cooperated with several internal investigations related to Russia.
Although the FBI alone does not have the power to initiate criminal proceedings, the after-action review will examine whether any current employees have been involved in disciplinary misconduct. The division cannot take disciplinary action against former employees.
It is not known how many officials involved in the Flynn investigation remain at the FBI. Several senior officials – including former director James Comey, former assistant director Andrew McCabe and former agent Peter Strzok, who interviewed Flynn – were fired or left the office.
The FBI did not specify what type of potential misconduct it was looking for in the Flynn investigation, which pleaded guilty to lying to agents about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition period. But the case has long been the subject of indignation for Trump and his allies, who alleged that Flynn was actually set up to lie when the FBI questioned him at the White House in January 2017.
These concerns were rekindled earlier this month when the Justice Department decided to close the case and identified a series of problems which it said were investigated by Flynn.
The department’s motion to quash alleged that the officers lacked a sufficient basis to interrogate Flynn in the first place, especially since the FBI had been prepared earlier this month to close its investigation into Flynn after finding no crimes. He says any imperfect statements he may have made during the interview were not important to the underlying investigation into the ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.
Attorney General William Barr, who overturned prosecutors’ recommendation for Trump’s partner Roger Stone earlier this year defended the Flynn decision and said in a TV interview that he made “offers of the law” and corrected what he thought was an injustice.
The Justice Department has noted that it is acting on the recommendation of US Attorney Jeff Jensen of St. Louis, who had been mandated by Barr to review the Flynn case.
But the move outraged former law enforcement officials involved in the case, who said the Justice Department ignored the seriousness of the false statements Flynn admitted he made, as well as the seriousness of their concerns. security authorities regarding Flynn’s interactions with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. .
Flynn admitted in his guilty plea that he had lied about asking Kislyak to refrain from making matters worse in response to sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration for electoral interference. The Obama administration’s Justice Department officials later alerted Trump’s White House to the conversation, saying that false public statements about it made Flynn vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
The request to dismiss the case sparked its own internal back-and-forth before the courts.
US district judge Emmet Sullivan has tasked a retired judge with challenging the Justice Department’s position. Flynn’s lawyers asked a federal court of appeal to order Sullivan to dismiss the case and to reassign any future court proceedings to another judge. A panel of the appellate court asked Sullivan to respond to the defense’s request.
The FBI said that in addition to its own internal review, it had cooperated and was transparent with multiple inquiries assigned by Barr, including the loan of its own agents to the Jensen probe. The FBI also cooperated in an investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, led by US prosecutor John Durham of Connecticut.
“Director Wray has authorized this additional level of scrutiny now that the Department of Justice, through the work of Mr. Jensen, has developed enough information to determine how to proceed in the Flynn case,” the statement said. FBI. “However, Mr. Jensen’s work will continue to be a priority, and the Director further directed the Inspection Division to coordinate closely with Mr. Jensen and to ensure that the review does not hinder or interfere with the review.” hinders his efforts. “